David Lavau, 68, who had been reported missing on Sept. 23, was rescued last Thursday by his three adult children from the bottom of a rugged ravine located at Angeles National Forest, approximately 50 miles north of Los Angeles, authorities have confirmed.
According to Capt. Mike Paker, a spokesman of the Sheriff's Department, that three adult children of Lavau rescued their father Thursday after searching along the highway between their father’s home in northern Los Angeles County and Ventrra County. They had carefully examined treacherous drop-offs calling out for their father.
Lavau survived after falling six days in the ravine, eating bugs, leaves and drinking creek water. According to Parker, the location was confirmed through Lavau’s bank and cellphone records before the children commenced the search.
Parker said the Sheriff’s Department had followed proper procedures to investigate a missing persons case though it was the family that found the father, indicating the public should not ask the Department anything.
We admire this family for doing what they did. You've got to love them. Parker said. I think there was a higher power involved.
We stopped at every ravine and looked over every hill, and then my brother got out of the car, and we kept screaming, and the next thing we heard Dad saying, `Help, help,' and there he was, Lisa Lavau told NBC's Today show.
Chardonnay Lavau said on NBC’s Today show that one of the first things her father requested after his rescue is a chocolate malt.
According to emergency room physician Dr. Garrett Sutter at Henry Mayo Newhall Menmorial Hospital where Lavau was transported by a rescue helicopter, Lavau suffered three rib fractures, a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm and fractures in his back.
Three or four days are needed to undergo surgery on his shoulder and make a full recovery. He was very desirous of a lobster taco, Sutter said. And according to trauma director Dr. Ranbir Singh at the hospital, Lavau was blinded for a moment caused by headlights of an oncoming car on his way back home and then his car plunged down the embankment.
A body, which was later believed to belong to a 88-year-old man named Gelfand in a Toyota Camry was discovered only a few feet away at the same time Lavau was rescued. Gelfand was reported missing on Sep.14, a week earlier than Lavau’s disappearance.
I love my kids. Dead man was not my fault. Love, Dad, was written on Lavau’s dusty trunk, his family told the Los Angeles Times.
The identity of the dead body, which was found nearby in the Toyota Camry, couldn't be recognized by bare eyes due to decomposition. However, Will Matlack, Gelfand’s son-in-law, confirmed that coroner’s office had contacted his family. The coroner said it's 99 percent a sure thing, Matlack said.
How Gelfand, who was a veteran of World War II, disappeared, is still unknown. According to his daughter Joan Matlack, he should have been on his way to a casino off Interstate 5 south of Los Angeles in the other direction.
We don't know what happened, but it seemed like he was either lost or disoriented, Matlack told KCAL-TV, Because he was in the complete opposite direction. He went north instead of south.